Spanish Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton takes championship lead with victory in Spain
As was the case in Bahrain, Mercedes decided to split the strategies of their two drivers with Hamilton putting on the medium tyres during his second stint while Rosberg saved the same for the final stint. In the end Hamilton sustained a late race charge from Rosberg and in the process stole the championship lead from the German.
While Mercedes were in a league of their own at the front, Red Bull took the title of best-of-the-rest with Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel finishing in third and fourth places respectively. Having lost third place at the start of the race to Bottas, Ricciardo successfully converted a three-stop-strategy to one requiring two pit stops to secure his first F1 podium. Vettel meanwhile had to overtake a lot more cars – both on track and in the pits – having started the race down in 15th place. And the German drove extremely well to take fourth place by the time the chequered flag was waved at the end of lap 66.
Valtteri Bottas couldn’t score Williams’ first podium since Pastor Maldonado won at the same circuit in 2012, but nevertheless took fifth place at the flag to close down the gap to Force India in the constructors’ championship.
Fernando Alonso came out on top in a late race scrap between him and teammate Kimi Raikkonen to secure sixth place. However, questions would be asked as to why Alonso, who was behind the Finn on track, was given the first call when it came to pit stops.
Behind the two Ferraris came the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, with both the driver and the team opening their points account after a more than disappointing start to the season, given their late 2013 form.
Sergio Perez overtook his highly rated teammate Nico Hulkenberg at the first corner to secure ninth place as Force India took the final two points scoring positions.
It wasn’t a positive day in the office for Perez’s former teammate Jenson Button with the the 34-year-old finishing just outside of the points in 11th. With Magnussen one place behind in 12th, McLaren recorded their third consecutive non-points scoring result.
Further down the timesheets, Felipe Massa finished 13th, unable to get a good result on his three-stop-strategy. Daniil Kvyat and Pastor Maldonado were 14th and 15th respectively ahead of the two Saubers of Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil. Sauber were relying heavily on the upgrades they’ve brought to this race, but as it turned out, they failed to alleviate them from the slowest midfielder on the grid.
In direct contrast, upgrades to Marussia M303 put them closer to the midfield and further ahead of ‘historic rivals’ Caterham.